South West England to South West Australia

You’re young, You’re truck mad, your dad’s truck mad, you drive a truck, your dad drives a truck, but you live in Taunton. Not exactly the home of UK trucking or indeed road train trucking, so what do you do??……. Yep that’s right, head off to warmer climbs where big trucks roam free across the endless expanse of dirt tracks, tarmac, desert, rainforest and what ever else is in between, you guessed it, Bristol sorry, sorry I meant Australia of course! If you want to see some big trucks and get to work with big trucks why not do as our man in Kangaroo country has done and sign up for a farming team in Oz. Young Jack Rigby is truck mad, having an owner driver for a dad, did Jack ever stand a chance of having a career doing anything else? No of course not, every Owner Drivers child wants to grow up like their dad don’t they???

Not scared of a gear stick like many new/young drivers are, or indeed hardwork, Jack has been hard at it with his team harvesting Australia’s crops and getting to ride and also drive some absolute beauties. As is the case these days in Oz, there seems to be a real mishmash of American type and European type trucks. Luckily for Jack he’s tried all of them and none better than the triple trailered Kenworth above. The beauty of this all is that Jack can utilise both his agricultural skills and truck driver skills all in one. Just listen to that engine grumble away, you can virtually feel the ground shaking as she picks up speed. Time to give Jack a pat on the back with those gear changes, as you may have noticed he’s not using a clutch pedal. As Jack is at an age of post gear lever trucks here in the UK it’s nice to see a young whipper snapper with such great skill. I think just one little missed gear is perfectly acceptable considering.

Lots of European trucks over in Oz these days. Traditionally big American trucks have always been most popular but these days it seems to be much more of an even split between American and European trucks. The team Jack is working with are clearly fans of European trucks as they have a good number of Volvo’s and some ageing Scania’s still in use. If I know Jack a little then he’ll be keen to try as many as he can and hopefully he’ll collect enough photos and tales of the Australian roads and farming that he’ll write some blogs himself when he is back in Blighty. Due to licensing the tidy Volvo below with a single trailer is one of Jacks regular seats.

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American in Suffolk 

  
  

In the last two weeks I’ve had my morning commute slightly enlightened by something big, American and making a fair old noise. As I queue northbound on the A12 Ipswich bound at the Copdock roundabout I have twice in two weeks stumbled upon a big American tanker. Both have been foreign registered, the one above being French, but both pulling what look like food grade tankers as neither had any HAZ markings. I’m guessing that as they are on tanker work our French friends have decided that they can have something a little more exciting as the tankers are short, it allows more length for a decent tractor unit. Personally I think my choice would be a European truck such as the Volvo VN’s or a Tcab Scania as the ride is far better than the American metal. Saying that there is still something very enjoyable Bout motoring along with a big Kenworth on British roads.    

 You might just note in the photo above I had my window slightly ajar. The reason being is that these lovely old Americans still have Jake Brakes in full working order, so trickling along in the morning traffic jam means you get a fairly lengthy tune from the Jake as the tanker rolls down towards the roundabout. Beautiful. I would have to assume that these tankers jobs are paying pretty well as the MPG can’t be up to much. While watching another Big Rig Videos rolling CB interview the other day, the driver seemed pleased with himself that on a good run when trying, he could get his MPG all the way up to 5.5mpg!!! Anyway I’m not fussed as long as the job they are heading to continues I’ll keep enjoying their soundtrack instead of the usual drivel on the radio in the mornings. 

   
 Below is the other Kenworth I saw a few weeks back. Now that big exhaust sounded even better than this weeks, both going forward as well as with the Jake. 
 

My Best Truck of 2014

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For me this is the best truck I have seen in 2014. It might not be the newest, it might not be most practical for most of Europe and it certainly won’t be everyones taste but for me, spot on.

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If you live in the UK and haven’t been to one I strongly advise that you make 2015 your first trip to a European truck show, the standard of trucks is amazing. I can’t deny that the trucks here in the UK are getting better and better but the Europeans just seem to have it right, they all look good. To me the best trucks have always been out of reach of what I could afford or achieve and the T560 is no different. We all joke about winning the lottery but a Tcab would be very close to the top of my list. It’s blue, it’s got two sets of pipes, it’s got a subtle custom interior and enough lights to make it look good but not over the top. As with anything I would make a few subtle changes as I’d want to put my mark on it.

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2014 has seen a big rise in the blogs popularity through all mediums, the Facebook page, twitter and the good old fashioned http://www.truckblog.co.uk website. I’m not going to link to any of those this time round as I’m sure you all could do with a break from the ruthless links and plugs for the blog. I have no idea where the blog will be in another 12 months, hopefully you’ll all still send me stuff, photos, info and the odd piece of trucking memorabilia to decorate TBHQ and I’ll keep bugging the TV companies in the vague hope they’ll see that we need Truckblog TV!

Hopefully I’ll be visiting, Truckfest Peterborough, Crowfield Truck Rally, Gathering of the Griffin, Retro Truck Show at Gaydon, more than likely (and hopefully) Truckstar Festival at Assen as my foreign trip, although I have heard on the grapevine that there is quite a convoy of English motors heading to the International Trucker & Country Show held at Interlaken, CH. I have always wanted to go James?? Finally if the offer is still there then I might just make it to Belfast too.

Anyway thank you for following and thank you for making the blog what it is, without your contributions I’m sure you’d all be bored silly of 143’s, MAN TGL LX’s and Mercedes-Benz photos! As we all do secretly say now and again Keep on Trucking!

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Queen of the Outback

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What an awesome looking rig! I think Australian trucks looks more imposing than the Americans, as in general the cabs sit higher due to the nature of some of the roads and tracks across the outback. This K’whopper is driven by a trucking mad woman called Clare. Last night I was Tweeting into the future and Clare was tweeting into the past. It was getting on for midnight Saturday night here in the UK but it was early Sunday morning down in Australia. I was lazing on the sofa watching the TV while @clarebear455 was trucking along some where 1200km north of Perth in Western Australia, the wonders of modern technology! Clare drives and polishes the gorgeous looking KW for her boss and who can blame her with such a fancy looking rig. The road train is powered by a 650hp Caterpilar power plant, pulling 3 articulated trailers, weighing in at approx 135,000kg and around 55 metres long, at this size Clare can still truck along at 100kph. Here in the UK it’s a different world entirely, max length is 18.75 metres on a drawbar (rigid truck with a trailer), 44,000kg on 6 axles, limited to 89kph. I know where I’d rather be, I’d happily swap 1000 cars on the M25 for 1000 kangaroos! If your on twitter follow Clare by searching for; @clarebear455

Big Rig Videos – New Vids!

For those of us on the more regulated side of the pond, we can only dream of Big Pete’s, K’Whoppers, Bulldog Macks (with or without a can on the back!) and the like, we have to put up with our length regulated, cab-over trucks (for most of us). If any of you are anything like me then I long to go back to the States now I’ve got other the need to go to Disneyland, I’d rather go to Florida to meet up with man behind the camera and CB interviews of Big Rig Videos, Christopher. I love just watching trucks rolling along the motorway as it is, but Big Rig Videos brings us all the trucks and big rig from the US, well all those that and trucking up and down Florida on their way to and from where ever. For example the big orange Peterbilt from Fox Trucking above is on a fairly decent length trip from Denver, Colorado down to Miami, Florida. That’s just over 2,000 miles and something like 8 states, for comparison, it’s virtually the same distance as Manchester, England to Istanbul, Turkey.

As its Sunday, then why not get the roast dinner out the way, then put your feet up and spend an hour or so enjoying some of the videos on the Big Rig Videos YouTube Channel. Well worth the time I can tell you. The Gold Digga Pete is another quality looking truck that has been loved and cared for by its owner and lavished with all kinds of custom parts and paint work. The HD quality of the videos makes them all the more enjoyable as does the odd burble of American muscle, listen to the Caterpillar engine purring away in the first 30 seconds of the video above, just awesome! Please make sure you check Big Rig Videos out at some point;

Big Rig Videos Website – Click HERE
Big Rig Videos YouTube – Click HERE
Big Rig Videos Facebook – Click HERE

Last but not least, I will put up a video I have put on the blog before, but for me it is one of the best looking Amercian rigs I have seen. Plain and simple and in a lovely deep purple colour, the only way the video could have been slightly better, would have been catching the rig loaded, but you can’t have everything. Keep on trucking – 10-4 over and out!!

Ozzie Kenny’s from Huppo in Dubbo

I’m Going to have to get a new brass plaque for the desk in my shed, saying; “Blog Forwarder”. I have been hoping for a while that you lot would start contributing your own blog content. Really I hoped you’d do this just to add a different view to what is shown on here. Bear in mind obviously I want the blog to be trucks, trucks, trucks and also as it’s amazingly read worldwide, it’s best you contribute truck stuff from your own part of the globe as really I can only add what goes on here in GB. Leading on from this I now have another Ozzie guest writer, more the merrier I say! Over to your new writer;


 

Kenworth K200's from down under

Hi Ben,

Joe Hupp from Dubbo, NSW, Australia here with my first contributions to your wonderful blog – sorry I’ve been so slow in getting these to you. I have included two photos of the latest iteration of Kenworth Australia’s very popular K-Series cabover, the K200, and a photo of the truck that came before it, the K108.

The black K200 is owned by F1 Logistics out of Mildura, Victoria, Australia (formerly GTS Freight Management). I did not catch the name of the owner of the white K200 while the third photo is of the model that came immediately before the K200, the K108. The photo of the K108 (the red one – Ben) was at the open day at Inland Truck Centre, the Kenworth dealer in Dubbo. The K200’s were photographed alongside the Newell Highway, the main North-South transport route through the heart of NSW. The key difference between the K108 and the K200 is the height of the cab. The cab was raised to allow a bigger radiator (1850 square inches) and all the associated EGR and DPF equipment that goes with the enhnaced emissions control system on the Cummins engine.

Kenworth K200's from down under

Kenworth K200's from down under

Looking forward to contributing more of my photos to your wonderful blog… especially the vintage and classic trucks that opened Australia’s road transport industry up.

Joe

 

Mid America Truck Show 2001 (for Lisa Kelly!)

Those of you who follow truckbloguk on twitter you might well have realised that we are now being followed by, Ice Road Trucking royalty, Lisa Kelly. After I tweeted her (ooh-er!) to see if she’d follow the blog, she duly obliged. So as an odd dedication, I thought i’d do an American truck based post and as yet I don’t think I have ever said to much about my Mid America Truck Show Experience.

Back in the year 2001, when I was a mere whipper snapper, I went to my one and ony American truck show to date. The Mid American Truck Show in Louisville, Kentucky. Part of the main reason for going, other than my slight enthusiasm for a truck, I went out to meet with Panelite. Now for those of you who are saying, Whooooooo?? Panelite were the leading US aftermarket light supplier. You know all the extra orange lights US trucks have, most of them were down to Panelite. At the time the company was run by the founder and his wife, but in the last few years, due to family differences the company is no more, very sad. I am told by a very reliable source that the rights to production and all other copyrights have been bought by a Canadian company, so hopefully the products will be back on your American shelves before long. The reason I went was, at the time I had been talking with Panelite about starting a European dealership as this was something they were supposedly keen to do, but due to many reasons, not that i really understood them all, it never happened. Shame. Look how successful Kelsa and Spot-On have become.

Here are a couple of the then, Panelite show trucks.

Mid America Truck Show 2001

Mid America Truck Show 2001

Mid America Truck Show 2001

I did think on the way to the show, how would they light the trucks up to show the lights. At that point i hadn’t seen trucks plugged into the mains before, once again I guess the American started the trend. One of each of the main American truck’s were represented, such as the Kenworth, Freightliner and Peterbilt above, all kitted out with every possible stainless steel accessorie that you can imagine. The rest of the show was just a impressive as the Panelite stand. It was just amazing really, for those of you who just think its another truck show, your wrong. All I can suggest is that at some point you make the effort to get yourself to the US of A for a show and I highly highly reccomend the MATS.
Out side the is the Truck Beauty Contest. This is really the same sort of standard of trucks as you get at the Nordic Trophy. The trucks were just amazing. Everything was polished stainless steel and great paint jobs. The owner drivers must put so much effort in, they deserve a trophy each! This was the first place I saw wooden floors inside truck cabs! This Kenworth was a prime example of the standard.

Mid America Truck Show 2001

Mid America Truck Show 2001

Mid America Truck Show 2001

As over here, an awful lot of owner drivers have their own trailers and these too are treated to the custom treatment. The highlight of these trailer’s, for me, are the quilted effect rear doors, just wicked, although I imagine following along behind them with the Nevada sun shining at its peak, must test the best of sunglasses!!

Mid America Truck Show 2001

A chunky spud of a tipper.

Mid America Truck Show 2001

Last of all for those of you haven’t been to the States, one of the best things about travelling about the Interstates is seeing thr trucks in their natural environment. In a lot of states cars still have lower speed limits than cars. Most American trucks will purr along at 70 or 80mph. So you can be driving along and all you can see in your rear view mirror rapidly gaining on you are sights like this;

Mid America Truck Show 2001

Mid America Truck Show 2001